I Am A 50-Year-Old Female Executive Who Loves It When You Call Me “Dude,” “Bro,” Or “The Man”

Come on in. Please don’t let my 36th floor office with dizzying views of the bay intimidate you — go right ahead and flop down on my $44,000 Poul Kjærholm like we are about to pull out a PS5 and play a round of Mortal Kombat

Yes, that is a real Agam. Yes, my office is sweet. It is also totally sweet that you exclaimed “Dude, you rock!” at the conclusion of my 103 slide M&A roadmap presentation that painstakingly details how to generate five new revenue streams in just three quarters. Your unbridled enthusiasm truly changed the energy in the room. And if I am being completely honest, it made me  feel finally seen as the rockstar dude I am. When our board members simply said, “groundbreaking work, Clair,” it did not have the same impact at all. 

Let me tell you something. After shadowing me for a week during an investor roadshow that involved 16 hour days with 25 different equity firms in 8 cities,  my executive coach observed that I can get so wrapped up in this company’s success that I come off as cool and unapproachable — even superior at times. That’s why I went out with the team last night even though I still have two episodes of The Crown left to watch. Why yes, that brewery was totally tight. I loved it when you asked me “Bro, IPA?” and before I could request to see the wine menu, you passed me a glass of barely carbonated Pine Sol. No worries about the beer, I am still riding high from the fact that you called me “Bro.” I feel like one of the boys now. Which is to say, I feel like I’ve truly made it in tech. Cheers to that.

Between us, I don’t get why women don’t like to be addressed as “guys.” It makes complete sense that you address everyone in the room as “guys” during our weekly directors meeting. We all know  “guys” is a gender neutral term and there are only two female directors anyways. It would be awkward if you said “ladies and gentlemen” — that would sound like we were at some kind of gold circle weekend that wives are invited to. No, it would not sound right if you said “everybody” instead  — what are we, sitting in a booth at Denny’s ordering breakfast? When you say “guys,” I know you mean “business.” 

I will admit, however, that I was a bit thrown off when you called me “boss” the other day. I mean, yes, technically I am three levels above you, but I don’t want to rub that in anybody’s face. I did not spend 6 years at Ivy League institutions and work 90 hour weeks during my first 5 years out of business school to be treated any differently. Think of me as one of the boys. A boy who just happens to be the most most important man in the building. In fact, you yourself have called me “The Man” on several occasions and I think you are onto something. “The Man” and “Boss” are really the same thing so now that I am talking it through it would probably be best if you called me “Boss” from here on out.

Just let me be clear about one thing. If  I ever, ever hear you refer to me as “a girl at work,” I will cut your balls off.

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